“Be proactive not reactive, for an apparently insignificant issue ignored today can spawn tomorrow's catastrophe.” ― Ken Poirot
Most people wait until they are in a crisis to seek out counseling. Full blown panic attacks, depression that keeps you in bed all day or reliving life traumas are all reasons that people walk through our doors on a daily basis and as therapists we have the evidence based tools to assist through the darkest of times. While I highly recommend seeking counseling during those strong times of need, I also firmly believe that we often have the greatest personal growth when we are being proactive about our mental health.
Proactive Counseling: What is it?
Proactive counseling is the idea that talking about your day-to-day stresses with a professional will likely improve your quality of life. Let's look at physical health as an example. People who engage in regular physical activities that bring them joy tend to have better physical health and don't often get into crisis modes with their weight, pain, or health. Those who only complete physical activities after prescribed by a doctor, when trying to lose weight or for a New Years Resolution are less likely establish the skills needed to maintain a regular activity plan and enjoy the process.
What would I even talk about if I don't have a crisis?
You could talk about anything. I encourage clients to bring in a list of topics they would like to focus on that pertain to what is occurring in their life currently. Some ideas are listed below:
When we are at our lowest points we tend to be in survival mode. In survival mode, we start looking for the short term solutions to the issue at hand and sometimes don't take a look at the larger picture or system. When coming to counseling proactively one is often able to create structured goals around whole life improvement that focus on integrating all facets of their life. I like to think of crisis counseling as moving from surviving to living and proactive counseling as moving from living to thriving.
How often should I complete proactive counseling?
Proactive counseling can be done at your own pace because its proactive!! I recommend starting out at an every other week pace and seeing how quickly you reach your goals. Reassessing after every 2 months is a great idea as well.
Amber Reed, LSCSW, LCAC